Dodgy Products

Spurious Awards Scam

The “Spurious Award Scam” is a vanity-targetted scam, similar to the “Who’s Who” scam where you are to be honored by inclusion in an index of the Brightest and Best, but in the small print is a small charge for inclusion.

This scam ionvolves businesses being ‘awarded’ some supposed honor, involving a certificate, and what the financial industry call a tombstone – a plastic block to leave at reception to show you won it.

The certificate is a worthless peice of paper, knocked up on a printer for about 0.0001c and the trophy, if it arrives at all is worth less than the packaging it came in.

A Scam TipOff post led me here –

The United States Trade & Commerce Institute (USTCI) scams companies into purchasing expensive trophies and related packages for awards they have supposedly earned, though the selection appears to be completely random and is often incorrect. Some companies receive the notices for excellence in a year that they were not even in business, or for doing types of work that are not applicable, or for being based in a country in which they do not even do business. This organization has been scamming small businesses for several years, and has gone by numerous DBAs, as bad press has forced them to shut down and rename. The USTCI, for example, recently changed its name from the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce after people began to complain.

and this:

…all they wanted to do was charge me $100 for a meaningless certificate or three times that amount for a tacky acryllic award trophy.

See more Scam TipOffs at: http://www.scamdex.com/ScamTipReports/19339

This long-running scam uses a variety of domain names, often variations of the letters USTCI (ustci.org, ustcri.org, usiatc.org etc), they change often enough to stay off the search engines. USTCI.ORG was, at time of writing, hosted by singlehop.com in the US but has since moved to being hosted by a Chinese ISP.

From now on, I’m going to name the ISP’s of spammer/scammers in the hope that the negative publicity may cause them to more closely examine the ‘operations’ that the websites they host are involved in.

FTC Kills “MAKE MONEY FROM WEBSITES” Scam

An Own-Your-Own Website Business Opportunity where consumers would make money from links to major retailers was halted by the FTC.
An operation that lured consumers into spending thousands of dollars for Internet websites and advertising by misrepresenting that they could make lots of money by linking the sites to major retailers. The court ordered a stop to the defendants’ allegedly deceptive practices and froze their assets pending further litigation. The action is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers in financial distress.

There are many of these ‘Business Opportunities’ on the Internet and only the most egregious (read “Greedy”) are ever brought to account. The rest go on taking millions of people’s hard earned money with dubious, immoral, illegal and downright criminal schemes. As soon as the current pool of suckers is exhausted and/or the law start sniffing around, they close up shop and reopen with a new name, domain name and logo and just carry on.
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Dont try to scam Scamdex, Ok?

I give my cellphone number out to very few people. Friends, relatives, Scamdex-related business and the occasional on-line order, if they insist. So when I get a call, it’s normally someone I know personally or business. So I was surprised to get a call from an outfit called ‘Auction Profits LLC’ (http://www.auctionprofitsllc.com) , asking me if I want to make money with drop-shipping on eBay.

After listening to their inept spiel which seems to involve mentioning eBay and MONEY as often as possible, I asked them where they got my phone number and name. The claim was that I had placed an order with another company called ‘Online Supplier’ (http://www.onlinesupplier.com) . They knew my name, address and phone number and indicated that they had additional credit card information as well.

When I persisted, I was zapped to the supervisor who blustered about how I must have bought something from them before and, anyway, how about making some money on eBay?

He completely missed the point that I made that I run a website devoted to exposing scams (such as his) and he dropped my call. I got a weird ‘private’ call a few minutes later (2 minutes of static followed by a ‘sorry wrong number’) which I strongly suspect was them.

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What the heck is Jig-a-Loo?

According to their website http://www.jigaloo,com), Jig-A-Loo is a

revolutionary new product that combines the power of a lubricant with a water repellent. Unlike any other lubricant, it contains no oil, grease, wax or detergent, so it doesn’t stain or stink. It stops squeaks, unsticks just about anything, protects against rust, and is an exceptional water repellent.

Terrible name though – think ‘bugaboo’, ‘jigaboo’ and the word ‘loo’ is english for toilet (albeit by way of the french ‘Garde Lui’, I believe)

I must admit, I thought that maybe they were repackaging silicone spray, a very useful (and cheap) product that will free sticking sash windows, door locks, kitchen drawer runners etc. Odorless, tasteless, rated ‘ok’ for incidental contact with food. Excellent for waterproofing leather boots, shoes, jackets, suede, etc.


Jig-A-Loo

… So I checked their website….

… and checked. Fun copy, Lovely graphics, it’s Canadian (whatever that implies). All in a creditable marketing effort to introduce a ‘fun’ new product that will they hope become synonymous with squeak stopping.

Before you buy and start using this stuff though, there are a few warnings.

CAUTION
Contains: methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, isobutane, and propane.

Contents and fumes may catch fire. Container may explode if heated. May irritate eyes and skin. Keep away from flames, pilot lights, and sparks, including electric motors. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Do not swallow, get in eyes, on skin or clothing. Do not breathe fumes. Do not puncture or incinerate container. Do not store at temperatures above 120°F. Keep out of reach of children. Some plastics and painted surfaces may react. Please verify.

WARNING
This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer.

and the ever-so-friendly ‘MSDS‘.

I wouldnt dare say that this product hurts the environment, or is a cancer risk, but I know that it may explode or irritate your eyes and skin. and, by the way, Perchloethylene is the stuff used in dry cleaners that they’re trying to get banned. for more information on what methylene chloride and perchloroethylene do, go to the trade association. http://www.hsia.org/

Also reviewed here:
Strangenewproducts.com